I am in preparation for a sermon on 2 Kings 7. Indeed, today is the day. It is a blessing to dwell on a particular part of Scripture. The sermon is now complete in fifteen slides commencing from this link.
In late preparation I chose to turn to a consideration of what the passage does not say. The text from which the sermon was prepared was 2 Kings 7:3-16a and I used the NIV. It seems odd to contemplate what the text does not say yet it seems a purgative to ensure accuracy in presentation. That is, purge first in written word least I purge with a loose tongue during the sermon.
So, here is what the text does not say:
- There are only four lepers,
- That the lepers, in colony, are only men,
- That the four lepers are suffering leprosy – indeed; leprosy seems to be used as shorthand for a range of skin diseases,
- The duration of the leper’s situation outside the city,
- The relationship of the men to people in the city, nor the identification of any relationships that are estranged by the men’s absence from the city,
- Whether the lepers are visited by priests (whether for assessing their state of health or for pastoral reasons), and,
The King’s name, although we know it to be Joram from 2 Kings 3:1.
Then, I also found cause to deliberate on something puzzling in 2 Kings 7:13:
One of his officers answered,
“Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city.
Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here
—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed.
So let us send them to find out what happened.”
The puzzle was in the life and health of the horses. The siege had caused much break in order. There had been great hunger. The King’s officer alludes to how either horsemeat had been devoured or horse food shortage had led to death of horses – “five of the horses that are left in the city”. So, the puzzle is in why any horses were spared. Any of the food that was suitable for both humans and horses would surely have been devoured by humans, and, the horses themselves would have provided sustenance to those who hungered. For instance, in 2 Kings 6: 25 it is evident that a donkey’s head was valued for food.
The puzzle has no answers in the text. We can imagine that God was working even to safeguard the few horses remaining that those horses may play their role in Samaria’s restoration. God had given Samaria a trial that only lasted as long as Samaria could bear.
“I can bear any pain as long as it has meaning”
Note: all links good as at 20 July 2017